Residents of northern Israel prepare passports

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Residents of northern Israel are arriving at Interior Ministry offices in droves to renew their passports amid rumors that a summer war with Syria is all but inevitable.

Many living in the Upper Galilee region are still suffering psychological trauma from last summer's war with Lebanon's Hizballah militia, when more than 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel.

Those who are able say that if war comes again, as many military experts are warning, they will take their families as far away from Israel as possible.

“I am scared,” Hafzi Butbul (25), a resident of the hard-hit village of Shlomi, told Israel's Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper. “I am not ready to put my son through such trauma again. I want a safe place for him.”

Israel's leadership was harshly criticized following the last war over failure to stop Hizballah rockets from hitting the north and over the unprepared state of bomb shelters throughout the area.

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